A Misconception Punishment of Oedipus King of Thebes

In numerous plays a character could have a misunderstanding of his/her world. In return this might destroy a significant juncture in the story. “Oedipus Rex” by Sophocles is among such story.

At the end of the story Oedipus King of Thebes winds up gotten rid of permanently from his kingdom. Furthermore, Oedipus physically puts out his own eyes, for several reasons which will be gone over later. The question is: Did Oedipus deserve his penalties? There are many elements that must be thought about in addressing this, including how Oedipus himself felt about this circumstance.

His blinding was as much symbolic as it was physical pain. After all factors have actually been considered, I think that only Oedipus’ banishment was the needed penalty. It is necessary to keep in mind the whole fundamental reasoning for Oedipus’ look for Laios’ killers: he wished to put an end to a deadly plague, which afflict would only be stopped when stated killer is eliminated, or driven from the land (Sophocles 723). As a result, when it is exposed that Oedipus himself killed Laios, then banishment appears to be the only choice.

Death, in my mind, is not valid merely because of what it may do to the kingdom’s individuals. Even though it appears that Oedipus has actually not been a particularly good monarch, in reality his only significant achievement seems to be killing the Sphinx all those years ago; having a king put to death might have severe consequences on the rest of the kingdom. So in the end, the only way to cure the affliction and keep the kingdom stable seems to be the banishment of Oedipus.

In this case, the concern of whether he was worthy of to be punished seems irrelevant; Oedipus’ only goal was to stop the problem and by leaving, he has accomplished that goal. Banishment was the only choice. But what exactly was Oedipus being punished for? Even after re- reading the play, this still seems to be a gray area. Incest? Immoral to be sure, but Oedipus was certainly ignorant to his actions, and to my knowledge in Sophoclean times, there was no written law versus it and therefore no penalty for it (“The 3 Goddesses”4).

Oedipus’ punishment may have been for killing Laios, but how could you penalize somebody for being a victim of fate? Greeks thought at the time of the play’s writing that a guy’s life was “woven” by the 3 fates (Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos) and that he was irrevocably bound to that fate (“The Three Goddesses” 2). Understanding this and understanding that Oedipus ended up being king of Thebes just since it was his destiny to murder Laios and eliminate the Sphinx, how could he truly be penalized?

Even Oedipus himself understands that his actions are not by choice, however by acts of the gods, he discusses this two times in the play: “Some savage power has actually brought this down upon my head” (745 ). As well as “My god, my god– what have you prepared to do to me?” (755) Such quotes clearly reveal that Oedipus understood that he had no option in his actions. With this method alone, Oedipus is undeserving of any set penalties. Oedipus might not have been a particularly great man, however in the end he knew what was best for his kingdom: “Out of this kingdom cast me with all speed” (757) … or just that would save his problems.

Was that Oedipus’ only penalty the play may have been quite a bit simpler, but Oedipus intensely stabs his own eyes with Jocasta’s dress pins. This was Oedipus’ method of attempting to penalize himself, as well as an escape for him. Oedipus would no longer gaze upon the faces of his concerns, his sibling (uncle?) Kreon or even those of his children. He is plunged into a world of darkness. It must be kept in mind that this was more than a simply punishment, though I make certain that it was one of the methods Oedipus planned it.

The physical discomfort alone seems to prove that. There are much easier ways of ending up being blind to the world than stabbing one’s eyes out. As I have mentioned before, Oedipus was blinded by his absurd pride long before the beginning of the story. He just realized the reality behind Laios’ murder when it was right in front of his nose. He was by no means foolish, in reality he came off as rather a creative male, but his was a world of loss of sight since of pride and power. After concentrating on the 2 most apparent of Oedipus’ penalties, but there is another one that may not seem so clear.

Keeping in mind that Sophocles made it really clear that Oedipus was a guy of a lot pride that he might have thought of himself to be associated with a god. Nevertheless Oedipus essentially removed of that pride at the end of the play, then the true punishment was exposed. Oedipus’ life was based upon pride. It was what led him to the murder of Laios, which in turn caused the killing of the Sphinx, then led to his becoming king. As he continues on his specific lifestyle, Oedipus ends up being more and more powerful, and as such, his pride also increases proportionately.

He threatens both Teiresias and Kreon, and tries to untangle the mystery of Laios’ death. What must go on inside his minutes d when he finds out that not only did he murder his dad, the king, but he likewise slept with his mother? Knowing full well that his kingdom would eventually learn his acts, how could he hold his head up when walking through the city streets? How could his people respect and admire a king who was a murderer and an incest committer? Oedipus is for that reason stripped of his pride, the driving force behind his whole personality.

He has been squashed, and that which he had so much of previously has been rejected him. Where he was when at one extreme, he is now at the other. To remove the very thing that drives a male is even worse than any physical discomfort and even death itself. That is truly, as Sophocles meant it, Oedipus’ ultimate penalty. When the curtain falls and the lights go out on Oedipus Rex, the king’s penalties total three. Though in my mind a minimum of, one far surpasses the other 2, they are all important and they all add to the overall experience of the Greek disaster.

In the end, I do not feel that Oedipus really deserves the punishments he is handed, however that is just since of the truth that I put myself in the time duration that this was composed in, utilizing the beliefs of that time for my own. If this story took place in modern times, Oedipus definitely would have deserved his punishment, however this concept is unimportant since, quite just, this did not happen in our “advanced” civilization. Oedipus was a victim of fate, incapable of free choice, and as such he ought to have not been penalized, conserve banishment just to treat the condition.

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